Rennes, the capital of Brittany, is a vibrant city with a relaxed atmosphere, the place to enjoy some Breton culture medieval heritage, and all the amenities of a modern destination. It’s also a true knowledge hub, which has recently reinvented itself thanks to hybrid meetings solutions. Rennes’s main convention centre – the now famous Couvent des Jacobins – is leading the way in the matter.
Only an hour and half from Paris by high-speed train, Rennes is the beating heart of Brittany, one of the most dynamic cities in France, with almost 700,000 inhabitants spread across the wider conglomeration and an economy encompassing an area of some 300,000 jobs and almost 32,000 companies.
Competitiveness clusters, company clusters, associations, federations, communities… many players mobilize to create collective initiatives and carry out innovative projects in the region. The dynamic core of Brittany’s economy, it is in Rennes that research efforts come to fruition and where the digital technology, health, food-processing, environmental and automation industries stand out.
Since its opening, the Couvent des Jacobins, Rennes’ main convention centre, has increasingly been attracting the attention of international and European associations. Able to accommodate events of all nature and format, it boasts two auditoria for up to 1,000 people, 4,000 sqm of exhibition space and 25 meeting rooms, and is housed in a former convent, making it really one-of-a-kind. With 4,000 hotel rooms, 2,100 of which are in the city centre, a stone’s throw from the Couvent, Rennes is definitely one of those emerging destinations that clearly stand out on the meetings map.
Hybrid conference offer
For obvious reasons, the Couvent des Jacobins has recently developed a hybrid conference offer which is embraced par association planners. A specialist of medical imaging and artificial intelligence, John Baxter, is part of the organizing committee of MICCAI, the largest conference on computer- and robot-assisted surgery and medicine. As he hopes to take the congress to Rennes in 2027, he explains: “My goal for 2027 is to organize a hybrid congress and I think the Couvent des Jacobins is ready for it. It has spaces suitable for academic congresses – conference spaces and large exhibition areas – and it is fully connected to provide an experience both for an in-person audience and online participants.”
More generally, Baxter praises the assets of the Couvent: “Personally, I really appreciate the Couvent, for practical but for also historical and aesthetic reasons. First, it offers many spaces of all sizes. Then, the building is interesting because it is steeped in history while sporting modern architecture. Its environment, its practicality, its two large modular spaces, its catering service… everything you need is under one roof.”
If you add to the experience of the Couvent, the broader one of Rennes as a conference destination, with its pleasant parks and gardens, a delightful old town with restored streets and squares, colorful traditional timber-framed houses, outstanding buildings by famous architects and one of the biggest outdoor markets in France, you might have the most intriguing conference destination worth exploring – preferably in-person of course!